Blog Glossary

Blogging Terms Defined

This glossary provides basic definitions for the words used on our site when referring to blogs. Wherever we have found a good source for more detailed information on a particular term, we have included it after the definition.

You'll note that we do NOT include definitions for words as used in other ways. For instance, we do not include the mark-up definition of Tag as used in HTML, only the weblog community's use of the word. We will include information about other definitions or derivations only when it helps define the term as used in relationship to weblogs.

Aggregator
A tool used by readers of a feed to collect and display information from feeds. When it is set up like email or a browser, it is often called a "reader". When it runs along the bottom of another screen like a news ticker, it is (appropriately) called a "ticker".
Atom
An XML feed format with origins in RDF, Atom is slightly less well supported than RSS.
Blog
1. A personal publishing website that posts journal-style, editorial, news release, or commentary-style entries in reverse chronological order (newest at the top). Also known as a weblog. Originally used exclusively for non-commercial purposes. 2. The verb that refers to the action of creating content for a weblog.
Blog Community
Usually used to refer to the collective blog owners of the world. More broadly, has been applied to the numerous people around the world who create, organize, market or otherwise dip their fingers into the world of weblogs and weblogging, as well as the bloggers themselves.
Blog Search
Blog search engines usually collect a feeds or re-crawl the blog homepage whenever they are pinged. The search engine then adds the new content only into a constantly updated and shifting index. Blog search engines usually rank by most recent, then by most relevant, and therefore the results change very quickly.
Blog SPAM
This is not the same as email SPAM, or UCE (unsolicited commercial emails). When used in reference to a blog, it means a blog that scrapes its content from other sites or was created to trick a search engine and be a commercial vehicle. SPAM blogs usually are created by the hundreds with automated software that pulls content from either a bunch of SPAM emails, someone else's copyrighted website materials, or other source. Scraped content occasionally slips into the blog search results for unrelated terms, and are usually created entirely to get into blog search engines for certain keywords. Usually, it is limited only to the above, but some bloggers consider anything commercial or aimed at selling anything to be blog SPAM. Of course, this definition shifts depending on who you talk to, because it discusses web etiquette.
Blogger
1. Refers to the creator of a post on a blog.
2. When used as a proper noun it refers to the company called Blogger or the blogging tool that they provide.
Blogging
The act of posting journal-style entries to a weblog. Here is a good explanation of blogging.
Blogging Tool
This is a software hosted locally or on the internet that allows you to easily generate content for your blog and post it to the internet in a standard XML blog format. It also runs all the categorization, allows you to add functionality like comments, tags or search, organizes uploads, and other functions we have come to associate with a blog. Examples of commonly used blogging tools are Blogger, TypePad and WordPress.
Blogosphere
Refers to the entire world's blogs, blogging-related websites, and the bloggers themselves as a whole. Also referred to as the blog community.
Comment
This is a statement about a blog entry that is posted as an addendum, either by a reader or by the entry creator.
Comment Moderation
This is the act of overseeing what the content of blog comments contain and keeping out comments that are objectionable, unwanted or spam. If a comment is marked as needing moderation, it is usually kept unpublished until the blogger can review and delete or post it.
Comment SPAM
This is not the same as email SPAM, or blog SPAM, or trackback SPAM. When used in reference to blog comments, Comment SPAM means a comment unrelated to the blogger's post that promotes something for personal gain or in order to generate an unapproved link to a URL that cannot generate links by its own merit. Of course, this definition shifts depending on who you talk to, because it discusses web etiquette.
del.icio.us
A popular blog folksonomy website that allows members to set information about their bookmarks (browser-saved URLs) and then share it with del.icio.us. Del.icio.us then gathers collective information about those tagged bookmarks and indexes it.
Draft
Any blog post, entry or comment that is created and saved but not made public is a draft. The word "draft" is borrowed from the publishing industry.
Dynamic
A dynamic page gets newly generated from a database whenever requested by a server and therefore may be different depending on variables like who is asking for it, the date, or form input. Most pages on a blog are dynamic, generated by search or categorization and change with every new post. (As opposed to static).
Feed
A feed is a file containing the content of a web document or collection of web documents (like your recent blog posts) that has been stripped down -- removing display-related data like style and most mark-up -- to leave only content and basic information about that content. A feed syndicates the content of your website without all the display-related formatting included, just the content. A feed allows for easy download and display in another software program reader or on another site, such as a syndication website like a news service, as well as letting a blog search engine or folksonomy site easily gather just your content for indexing. If unspecified, the word feed always refers to an XML file, usually to an RSS feed.
Feed Format
Feed format means the format of XML file chosen for syndicating your blog's content. blog feeds are formatted in the XML language as either RSS or Atom. The feed format dictates how the content and information about your posts are transferred but it does not affect the layout, style or "look" of the information at the other end. That is dictated by the aggregator. Because a feed format is uniformly formatted, it is hypothetically easy to achieve consistent results regardless of content source.)
Feed aggregator
A feed aggregator is used to pull information from feeds for consumer use. When it is set up like email or a browser, it is often called a "reader". When it runs along the bottom of another screen like a news ticker, it is (appropriately) called a "ticker". (Also see aggregator or reader.)
Folksonomy
A labeling system commonly used on blogs that lets you choose the basic keyword, subject or category of a block of content, such as a comment or a blog post. The term is an amalgamation of the words folk and taxonomy. Technically, you can add tags to any text, but the blog community uses folksonomy nearly exclusively to label their posts. Commonly known as technorati tags, adding something to del.icio.us, or the like, it is all actually "tagging" for folksonomy purposes. The practice is incorporated into nearly every blogging tool out there.
Permalink
This means the direct URI to a blog page that shows only a particular entry or comment, rather than showing a category of posts or the main page of the blog. Unlike the remainder of the blog, permalink pages will always call only that post, without chronology or other factors changing the page later on. Permalinks are still dynamically generated but the URL will continue to work to display just that post so long as the blogger doesn't change the permalink settings in his blogging tool at a later date.
Ping
A ping is a very basic signal sent from one computer to another. Since the beginning of computer networks, pings have been used as a verification, a quick "are you there?" to the other computer. In blogging, it means a signal you send to a blog search engine or directory, a ping service, a feed service or other website so that they know your blog has fresh content for them to get. While we call this a ping, it is more technically accurate to call it an RPC, but ping is catchier sounding.
Ping Client
A ping client is a program, usually included in your blogging tool, that pings every site on your ping list automatically when you post new content.
Ping List
Most blogging tools allow you to add any number of pingable locations to a ping list and automatically sends a ping to every URI on that list without intervention whenever new content is posted. It usually contains a list of ping services, rather than pinging each eventual recipient directly.
Ping Service
A subscription service for pings that broadcasts your ping to the major blog search engines or directories that you choose to ping. A ping service often requires registration before it will react to your ping.
Ping SPAM
Ping SPAM is when a ping is sent when certain conditions are not met. What conditions? For instance if there is no new content, or it has not been an alloted length of time since the last ping (for instance pinging every ten seconds). Sometimes it is accidental, as in when the receipt point requires registration -- your signal is trash until you register. Ping SPAM is usually when a ping is sent under completely false pretenses, or you're sending a ping to a completely unrelated website. Of course, this definition shifts depending on who you hear it from, because it falls under the heading of web etiquette.
Post
[Verb] 1. To publish content for public consumption. 2. To add an entry to your blog. 3. ~ a comment: used to refer to the act of publishing a comment to an existing entry. [Noun]4. A single blog entry.
RDF
RDF is a framework for handling resources (like web pages, images, software programs - anything that can be located as existing on the internet) and descriptions of them. RDF is short for Resource Description Format, and sometimes Resource Definition Format. RSS is a common form of RDF.
Reader
This is a program for reading blogs that runs on your own machine and downloads the RSS feed for you. Often it is where you will read whatever blog subscriptions you've subscribed to.
RPC
RPC stands for Remote Procedure Call. Generally, this can be described as your computer sending a command (a procedure call) to a remote server to execute at that end and return a response to (or vice versa - their computer calling yours). In blogging, it usually refers to the process of pinging a blog search engine that you have new content. You are remotely calling that server to process the command to go fetch your blog's newest content. Hence, that ping is a Remote Procedure Call, or RPC. The section of the distant website that you can remotely call (execute commands to) is understandably separate from the remainder of their server to dissuade hacking and is usually called something like http://rpc.exampleblogsearchengine.com or http://www.exampleblogsearchengine.com/RPC/.
RSS
RSS is a feed format in the XML language. RSS is known as meaning "Real Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary". Those refer to different versions of RSS, which split apart from one another years ago. There have been versions 0.9, 1.x and 2.x, all valid depending on your side of the issue. However, the original meaning, what it originally stood for before the kinds of RSS split apart from each other, was "RDF Site Summary" (proof). So, 1.0 is "RDF Site Summary", 2.0 is "Real Simple Syndication", and sometimes "Rich Site Summary" is used for either version.

Technically, RSS is a sub-set of RDF designed for making a Summary of a webSite, such as a blog, and is in XML.

RSS is one of many RDF formats to have been created, and is the most commonly used right now. RSS competes for market with Atom as a common feed format. RSS is widely accepted by blog search engines and directories. RSS 2.x appears to be most widely accepted.
RSS Feed
The words "RSS feed" are sometimes used generally to mean feed, whether the person is actually using RSS to create the feed or not. But, regardless, an RSS feed is an actual thing. It is an RSS file containing a summary of your most recent blog posts. (see Feed and RSS.)
Scrape
To scrape is to steal content from elsewhere that is then displayed without crediting the source, sometimes in violation of copyright. It is often in partial or garbled form. Scraping is a method used in SPAMmy blog to fill in content without having to think, or to steal the rank of a well-ranked blog by copying successful content to hundreds of websites, diminishing the rank of the original site. Scraping is different than quoting someone without remembering to add a trackback or link. It is malicious violation of fair use and copyright law.
Slug
Comes from the publishing industry. Originally used to refer to the leading (pronounced lehding - the blank, shallower strips of lead used to fill gaps) placed between lines of type. The meaning was broadened to refer to the internal nickname given to a news story or article. In blogging, the slug is YOUR name for the post, and is not technically a piece of the post. It often becomes part of the permalink URL, though, so should be something you are willing for your visitors to see, and contain a keyword. If you don't or can't choose a slug yourself, any automated blogging tool will usually do it for you.
Static
A static page does not get newly generated from a database whenever requested by a server. A static page remains the same and is there whether being requested or not. In a weblog (which that is otherwise made up of dynamic blog posts) the "about me" page is often static. See also the opposing definition for dynamic.
Sticky
This is a post that is always displayed in a certain position in the categorization, without regard to chronology. Derived from "sticky note" (also known as a Post-It Note™) –. Stickies (pl.) serve the same purpose in chronological websites as their counterparts do in paper document use. Example stickies could include a post defining the subject matter of the following posts, stating rules for leaving comments, or welcoming people to the blog. Sticky posts originated on forums, but the tradition continues with blogs, which utilize much of the same technology.
Subscribe
This is a word for telling an aggregator or reader to fetch the RSS feed for you on a persistent basis. Usually a "subscribe" link is just a simple link to the feed, and your browser knows what to do automatically. Sometimes it is a link to Feedburner or some other feed management website.
Syndication
Specific to blogging, syndication means having a working feed on your blog and making it easy to find and download. Rarely, it is loosely used to refer to the marketing of a blog.
Syndication Format
Means the same as feed format. See feed format.
Tag
A Tag is a link with an assigned relationship of "tag". This is done by adding
rel="tag"
to the mark-up of the link. It is nearly synonymous with the blog search engine called Technorati which organizes its blog search results by tags in a popularity-based system. The word is also generally used to refer to the blogging practice of assigning a keyword label to the tail end of a post (sometimes as a link to a folksonomy engine like digg or delicious or technorati). In some cases, tags completely replace categories, accomplishing internal or folksonomy purposes as well. Here is some more information about tags in general or tagging or Technorati tags specifically.
Technorati
A popular blog folksonomy website that collects and indexes certain tags from current blog posts and organizes them by keyword (aka topic). Technorati indexes both purposefully created Technorati tags and any other incidental data that describes your blog post such as categories, topics, and the assignment of keywords -- but only if that information is included in your feed.
Trackback
A trackback is way of sending a notification of a resource from one blog to another. It is used to inform any blogger that they are being blogged about elsewhere or quoted by another blog. It is sent by the one doing the quoting or mentioning. Although originally used by just one blogging tool, it is now part of standard blog etiquette and is included as an option in nearly all blogging tools. A trackback is sometimes called a pingback. Its use has been somewhat expanded to include informing another blogger of necessary resources the originator found useful in relation to the other blogger's needs.
Trackback SPAM
This is not the same as email SPAM, blog SPAM or comment SPAM. THe spammers have found yet another way to bother us with useless or malicious links. Trackback SPAM is when a blogger receives a link by trackback that has nothing to do with the original blog and everything to do with trying to get the blogger to link to a sales pitch or check out the included resource against their will. Of course, this definition shifts depending on who you talk to, because it discusses web etiquette.
Weblog
The original word for a blog. Blog is short for weblog.
XHTML
Blogs are displayed in browsers in XHTML. XHTML is short for eXtensible HyperText Markup Language. XHTML is similar to but not the same as HTML. HTML is a sub-set of a different family of languages that all follow SGML (standard generlized markup language) rules. HTML is not going to be improved further, and has been replaced by XHTML, which is a sub-set of XML. It is still very similar to HTML, but has some important changes such as different nesting rules. It also doesn't allow unclosed tags. There is way more information available through the W3C specification than I can easily put here. Many people think of XHTML 1.0 as HTML 5.0.
XML
XML is short for eXtensible Markup Language. XML is designed to be extensible - meaning it can be used to do mark up pretty much any file in any way so long as you clearly define what your markup means with a schema and follow XML structural rules, etc. Your blog pages, feeds, posts and comments are probably all displayed exclusively in various formats of XML. You could even create your own XML file format if you want to take the time, but you probably won't need to because there are already plenty of them in use in blogging today including XHTML, RSS and Atom. The world wide web consortium has lots more data.

Glossary Resources

Here is another glossary, the GIANT blog glossary, for those of you not quite done learning yet.

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Summary: This is a glossary of terms as defined by us in our own words as we find them to be used by the blog community. It is an extremely simplified glossary and sometimes says where to go for more complete information and study.

You'll note that we do NOT include definitions for alternate usages. We will include information about other definitions only when it helps define the term as used in relationship to blogs and blogging.

Using this page does not substitute for studying blog technology in detail - but it can be hard if you don't have a clue what something is! So this glossary is provided only to make your life easier until you can dig into the techish geeky stuff.

Comments, additions or corrections? Let Desi know.

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This page last updated 2014-07-28.

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